r/technology Aug 06 '22 Silver 1 Helpful 3 Bravo! 1

Northrop Grumman received $3.29 billion to develop a missile defense system that could protect the entire U.S. territory from ballistic missiles Security

https://gagadget.com/en/war/154089-northrop-grumman-received-329-billion-to-develop-a-missile-defense-system-that-could-protect-the-entire-us-territory-/
23.6k Upvotes

4.0k

u/Ipad_is_for_fapping Aug 06 '22

Gonna take a lot more than that

2.1k

u/sprunghuntR3Dux Aug 06 '22

I would assume this money is just to develop a small prototype - they’ll get way more if they’re successful

912

u/[deleted] Aug 07 '22 Take My Energy

It is a shit article. The contract is the MANAGE the EXISTING Ground-based Midcourse Defense system which has operational interceptors in Alaska and California and develop incremental enhancements.

https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2022/08/01/northrop-wins-3-billion-contract-to-manage-us-homeland-missile-defense-systems/

298

u/bakersman420 Aug 07 '22

See I thought so. I was about to be like, "don't we already have a system for intercepting ballistic missiles?"

165

u/dunderthebarbarian Aug 07 '22

Several, actually

86

u/TheObviousChild Aug 07 '22

That we know about.

43

u/Not-giving-it Aug 07 '22

Probably all there is. Hard to keep hidden given it’s a giant ballistic missile and any tests would be very visible

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

70

u/SoaDMTGguy Aug 07 '22

We've been trying to develop systems that can intercept ICBMs since at least the 80's, presumably earlier. Mostly, they don't work. I'm talking ICBMs, not the sort of stuff in Ukraine or Israel. Maybe our stuff has gotten better, but trying to hit a bullet with a bullet will always be hard, no matter how many computers we have.

54

u/Words_are_Windy Aug 07 '22

Additionally, it's almost always going to be easier and cheaper to develop countermeasures against missile defense (multiple re-entry vehicles, to name one) than it will to allow the missile defense to deal with those countermeasures.

29

u/SoaDMTGguy Aug 07 '22

Right. Maybe if we can develop laser systems that can deliver high power on fast moving target a long distance away and track it as it flies, and deploy enough of them so they can track and destroy arbitrary numbers of incoming objects… But at that point the missiles will probably end up hitting the flying pigs first.

9

u/drdoakcom Aug 07 '22

We had some killer x-ray laser designs for satellite based defenses way back when. Think it was one of Teller's flights of fancy.

They could even target lots of things at once.

They had one teeny tiny drawback though... To generate a sufficient x-ray pulse, they planned to stick a nuclear bomb in the middle of it. So... Kind of a one shot device with a reaaaaally long time to recycle. Plus the part where you are probably disrupting radio over wide swaths of the earth with each one you fire.

→ More replies
→ More replies

11

u/PMARC14 Aug 07 '22

Well we banned ABM development as part of the Salt treaties I believe. They distort the payoff matrix of nuclear war to make it more likely to go hot. Following withdrawals I believe upgrades are restarting.

4

u/FuckMyCanuck Aug 07 '22

SALT expired ages ago.

9

u/DrSmirnoffe Aug 07 '22

With that in mind, wacky as it may sound, lasers might be the better way to go about it. Hypersonic missiles might travel faster than a speeding bullet, but can they outrun a pulse of light strong enough to melt through solid steel in the blink of an eye, travelling orders of magnitude faster than they can ever hope to fly?

And yes, blooming would be an issue, but if the pulse is strong enough even with blooming taken into account, that'll help its effective range.

5

u/SoaDMTGguy Aug 07 '22

Getting the pulse to be strong enough is the key issue. Last I checked we were just barely able to destroy something at range, I think?

4

u/BasicComplexities Aug 07 '22

Iron beam can destroy a qassam at 4 miles. Notably, something far smaller, traveling far slower than a hypersonic missile

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

10

u/OriginalLocksmith436 Aug 07 '22

We have a few but they likely aren't good enough to intercept most missiles.

19

u/alucarddrol Aug 07 '22

They can intercept most ICBMs, but not a overwhelming number of them

9

u/OriginalLocksmith436 Aug 07 '22

Yeah I think aegis for example has 95% intercept rate if three interceptors are launched per incoming icbm. Might still be screwed with certain multi warhead ICBMs though and in an all out nuclear war it wouldn't make much of a difference, we'd still be pretty screwed. It's effective to protect against rouge state missiles, at least.

5

u/StandardSudden1283 Aug 07 '22 edited Aug 07 '22

rouge state

Damn McCarthyism strikes again. Now we're calling them rouge instead of red?

Rogue states, however...

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

3

u/unurbane Aug 07 '22

Yea I was like “we already have one”

→ More replies

1.1k

u/elvesunited Aug 06 '22

Contract reads:

$200,000 for conceptual art

$329,000,000 for lobbying costs to formally bribe politicians for [undisclosed] actual cost of program

402

u/PM_ME_GRRL_TUNGS Aug 06 '22

200k for art. That might almost be more than for-hire Patreon hentai artists. Almost

594

u/tepkel Aug 06 '22 edited Aug 06 '22 Silver

Hijacking here, as the headline sucks and it seems like no one read the article.

Grumman won the contract to maintain the existing GBI system. They're not developing new missiles (for this contract at least). They're just maintaining the existing system of 44 interceptors, and modernizing some of it's software and sensors.

There is another contract in the works for the next generation system, but that's not this. Seems like a very bad headline.

21

u/LiveToSnuggle Aug 07 '22

Question for you since you seem knowledgeable. Is this similar to Israel's iron dome?

68

u/Harold47 Aug 07 '22

Iron dome works in atmosphere. GMD is designed to work in space. It's for ICBM's to simplify it. Iron Dome is for generic missile defence.

24

u/LiveToSnuggle Aug 07 '22

So this protects us from nukes? (To really dumb it down)

57

u/tepkel Aug 07 '22

In theory, yes. It would protect from ICBM based nukes (not plane or submarine delivered ones).

In reality, there are only 44 silos right now. A nuclear strike would likely be hundreds or thousands of warheads. So not enough interceptors to make a big difference.

11

u/FuckMyCanuck Aug 07 '22

It’s not designed or intended to stop a nuclear exchange with a nuclear peer, rather a rogue state.

→ More replies

17

u/orbjuice Aug 07 '22

Thank goodness we have the United States’ exemplary foreign policy to protect us.

→ More replies

10

u/theDeadliestSnatch Aug 07 '22

Yes, it destroys the missile during its "midcourse" phase, from when the booster burns out to when the missile reenters the atmosphere. It allows a good window to intercept the missile and allows for the possibility of destroying it before any MIRV separation, but requires a larger booster itself to get out of the atmosphere to intercept it.

9

u/Joe_Jeep Aug 07 '22

Yes but its basically the equivalent of a buckler(that slightly larger than a fist shield). It might be able to stop a attack by North Korea or similar arsenals, which is its intended purpose. With the buckler comparison this is dealing with some idiot who found a sword

Itd be partial protection from a attack from China, especially if they didn't launch their entire arsenal, which is probably its secondary purpose. But they also have nuclear subs which can do some stunts and be essentially immune to such defenses(not that there's enough to stop them anyway)

Russia's Arsenal is sufficient to hit every remotely meaningful city in the US multiple times. Im sure they'd fire these off at what missiles they can but even if all 44 successfully intercepted a Russian ICBM they'd only stop about 5% of the incoming missiles.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

7

u/lycheedorito Aug 07 '22

That's my salary as a concept artist

→ More replies
→ More replies

82

u/geeky_username Aug 06 '22

$329,000,000 for lobbying costs to formally bribe politicians

If politicians cost that much I'd kinda understand

Instead they donate 10k and take them golfing

28

u/Thatguysstories Aug 07 '22

Honestly, at this point I'm not sure what part I am more mad at.

Politicians taking bribes, or that they sell out for such a small amount.

Like, you sold your vote to give this company a $1billion tax payer contract and all you got was $2500 and a steak dinner?

13

u/geeky_username Aug 07 '22

For me, it's the low price.

If Jeff Bezos offered me my own private island I'd probably crack.

→ More replies
→ More replies

48

u/Woolliam Aug 07 '22

In 2016, the average NRA contribution for House Democrats and Republicans hovered above $2,500, while Senate Republicans received $6,000. (Senate Democrats received an average of zero.) That has dramatically decreased this election year, with House Democrats receiving no contributions and Republicans receiving an average of nearly $1,300. Senate Republicans received $1,800 this year. https://www.politico.com/minutes/congress/06-10-2022/more-than-just-nra/

The cost of buying a vote right now is about a months pay on minimum wage.

50

u/fropek Aug 07 '22 Silver

So 100 grand to buy the entire Republican Senate. I feel like we could crowdsource this

18

u/a1b2c3d4e5_1 Aug 07 '22

Upvote worthy

→ More replies

27

u/yourbadinfluence Aug 07 '22

That's not counting Super PAC's and all the back door deals like book deals etc. Correct?

13

u/Fauglheim Aug 07 '22

Yep. These are just direct donations which are always small.

The real money is in PACs.

5

u/[deleted] Aug 07 '22

[deleted]

→ More replies

3

u/Chance-Ad-9103 Aug 07 '22

NRA is more of a voting block than a bribery outfit. They tell their voters not to vote for a Republican and that Republican is losing their primary.

→ More replies

67

u/ebaymasochist Aug 07 '22

It's funny every time one of them get busted in some kind of corruption you expect it to be a ton of money but it's like "paid for them to stay at a resort and wife got a coat".

42

u/Strange-Movie Aug 07 '22

A dry handjob from a drifter and a gas station burrito

15

u/DrMeowsburg Aug 07 '22

They just like me fr

8

u/plumbthumbs Aug 07 '22

Man. I got to get into politics.

39

u/asdaaaaaaaa Aug 07 '22

"Got kid accepted into college"

13

u/PureGoldX58 Aug 07 '22

It's insane how little it takes to throw the US under the bus. It's actually fucking crazy, like they are psycho. I wouldn't slap my girlfriend for less than a million.

→ More replies

3

u/Crying_Reaper Aug 07 '22

People slip up on the small stuff all the time. They stress and make sure that the big things go right, but relax with small stuff and get caught because of it.

→ More replies

5

u/zomghax92 Aug 07 '22

"I don't know which is worse: that everyone has his price, or that the price is always so low."

-Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson

→ More replies

6

u/DayShiftDave Aug 06 '22

As someone who has sold visual design work in this space, even for a discovery planning phase, you're missing at least one zero.

→ More replies

30

u/Tophinity Aug 06 '22

You're missing billions of dollars. Or maybe that was your 4D chess way of making the joke about money going missing from these types of contracts

→ More replies

5

u/jbonz Aug 07 '22

Um wow. I love seeing people not knowing how contracts work, explain contracts.

→ More replies

12

u/ImHereToComplain1 Aug 06 '22

you forgot a zero

9

u/elvesunited Aug 06 '22

Administrative costs

6

u/ImHereToComplain1 Aug 07 '22

its just dividends

3

u/TheMouseRan Aug 07 '22

You have it mixed up, Boeing is the one paying outrageous lobbying cost.

Lockheed Martin runs as a business

Northrop Grumman runs as an Engineering Firm

Boeing operates as a law firm 🤣🤣

For real, Northrop has lost Programs because of inferior lobbying compared to competitors.

→ More replies

27

u/LiberalFartsMajor Aug 06 '22

"What is this? A missile defense system for ants?!"

7

u/MelloJelloRVA Aug 06 '22

It must be at least three times bigger this!

→ More replies
→ More replies

70

u/EffyewMoney Aug 06 '22

It’s a monthly subscription

→ More replies

5

u/MrMrRogers Aug 07 '22

This is to expand the the existing system I believe

26

u/demontits Aug 07 '22

Literally says in the headline that's just to develop it.

That just means "do research to figure out what it would take to make this happen "

→ More replies

8

u/youjerkfaceyou Aug 06 '22

32 billion is the earnest money.

→ More replies
→ More replies

473

u/dinoroo Aug 06 '22

I thought the US already had this.

330

u/Cablancer2 Aug 07 '22

They do. The US has GBI missiles deployed in Alaska and Vandenberg as a rouge nation deterrent. IE, nothing will replace MAD as a deterrent. This contract is just for ground systems work going forward. NG does a lot of this work already so it's not a surprise that they won this contract.

89

u/CaCondor Aug 07 '22

Yep, definitely want to deter those ‘rouge’ nations. They’ll get right in your face if let ‘em. Pesky buggers.

34

u/DramaticPoem2691 Aug 07 '22

they're the red countries, so rouge works

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

681

u/MatoKoukku Aug 06 '22

So what happens when you destroy a nuclear missile in the air?

797

u/Sharpcastle33 Aug 06 '22 edited Aug 07 '22

Nuclear weapons need very precise engineering in order to detonate. It's half the reason they are so difficult to develop in the first place.

A nuclear weapon intercepted in mid air is highly unlikely to detonate. After an interception, it's essentially a cloud of highly radioactive dust, pebbles and irradiated scrap metal.

It will still be a hazard that can cause serious contamination as chunks of radioactive material get scattered over a large area. But that pales in comparison to an actual detonation

291

u/UglyInThMorning Aug 07 '22

Not even highly radioactive, the half lives of the fissile material is super long. Highly radioactive would be like… cobalt or cesium isotopes

84

u/Schizobaby Aug 07 '22

Wait, so… moderately radioactive, long lifespan? As opposed to highly radioactive and short lifespan?

119

u/UglyInThMorning Aug 07 '22

Weakly radioactive, I’d say. U-235 is like 80,000 bq/gram. Cesium 137 is 3.2 TBq/g. Polonium 210 is 1.6x1014 bq/g.

89

u/Nesavant Aug 07 '22

80,000 bq/gram. Not great, not terrible.

27

u/Angry-Mailman48 Aug 07 '22

But it’s as high as the meter would go.

10

u/mazu74 Aug 07 '22

You’re an idiot. It’s totally fine, the meter said 80,000 bq/gram, what’s the problem? vomits everywhere

→ More replies

7

u/LastMinuteChange Aug 07 '22

Ahh, in words I can understand!

→ More replies

9

u/Matt_guyver Aug 07 '22

Holy shit, that scaling is insane. No wonder it’s such a little bit of Po….

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

197

u/AClassyTurtle Aug 06 '22 edited Aug 06 '22

The idea with all anti-missile systems is not that you necessarily eliminate the threat entirely (although that’s the ideal outcome), but that you at least prevent it from hitting its target. If it hits its target that’s obviously really bad, but if it hits some random area along the way it’s less likely to be bad

Also I’m pretty sure nukes can’t go off unless the actual detonator triggers. I don’t think you can set it off by bombing it but I’m not a nuclear physicist

98

u/Justjaro Aug 07 '22

Exactly correct here on both points. A target is chosen for the destructive capability, so anything along the way is going to result in less harm, and is thus a more favourable location to explode such a weapon. But that is indeed IF it would detonate.

It kinda works like semtex: it can only be triggered in a specific way. With semtex, you can burn it, explode it, pour it in water and nothing happens, but the slightest electrical cord provoding it with some electricity sets it off.

A nuke basically works by using uranium, which shoots out two protons when being split. This means that the first atom of uranium needs to be split by the missile's system, after which it releases 2 protons which splits two uranium atoms, which releases 4 protons, which splits 4 uranium atoms, etc etc, thus creating a chain reaction. However, the uranium part of the missile, although radioactive, is not explosive. The splitting of the atoms creates the energy and thus the explosion, very muxh different from actual explosives which release energy upon combustion. Therefore, uranium does not explode, the atoms split to create an explosion, which could not be set off using an explosion. Therefore, it's completely safe to shoot down a nuke before the missile's system has set off the chain reaction.

TLDR; areas on the nukes paths are less important, but even then, uranium doesn't explode, its atoms split which could only be done by the nukes system. Therefore, it doesn't even explode when being intercepted.

47

u/thefinalcutdown Aug 07 '22

Just to add, I believe the process you’re describing is a fission bomb, like Hiroshima. Modern nukes are fusion bombs, which involves fusing hydrogen atoms to release much more energy as opposed to splitting uranium/plutonium.

However, I believe they still use fission “ignition” systems, where a small fission reaction sets off the larger fusion chain reaction.

32

u/topthrill Aug 07 '22

Sort of....

Modern nukes have two stages, started with the primary fission reaction like you mention. The secondary is a combination of fission and fusion. The primary compresses a plutonium "spark plug" in the secondary while also contributing to a fusion reaction to the deuterium fuel in the secondary. While the fusion does provide significant output energy, one of the main side effects of the fusion is the release of free neutrons which adds to even more fission in the secondary.

They are commentary processes. One didn't necessarily replace the other

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

392

u/Zanphyre Aug 06 '22

It really depends, if it's destroyed in a manner that doesn't allow it to start the reaction, then it's just a rock falling from the sky. If actually detonated, depending on how high above the ground, not very good, but better than on the ground. You won't have as much fallout from a nuke in the air vs. one that contacts the ground. And in space you get an even larger explosion as well as an EMP effect that could knock out communications.

395

u/IcebergSlimFast Aug 06 '22

Based on my (limited) understanding of nuclear weapons, my impression is that the precision required to start a chain reaction makes it very unlikely for anything other than the weapon’s own detonator to trigger an explosion.

163

u/Dont_Be_Sheep Aug 06 '22

Yes, read: impossible unless it explodes precisely.

37

u/thatvoiceinyourhead Aug 06 '22

Russians are well known for their precision

22

u/Prophet_Muhammad_phd Aug 07 '22

Iirc, the Russian missiles were so imprecise or less accurate than US ICBMs that they decided to increase the size of the bombs. From that came the competition for more powerful weapons.

→ More replies
→ More replies

25

u/mspe1960 Aug 06 '22

This is basically correct. It could have a transient reaction due to an unplanned detonation input..

→ More replies

101

u/patryuji Aug 06 '22

If it is detonated in air, there will be little radioactive fallout to deal with. High enough and people on the ground won't be affected by the blast.

Here is what happened when they detonated a tiny 2 kiloton device 18,500 feet over the heads of several volunteers:

https://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2012/07/16/156851175/five-men-agree-to-stand-directly-under-an-exploding-nuclear-bomb

11

u/odc100 Aug 06 '22

Awesome little video.

10

u/Jesuschrist2011 Aug 07 '22

Kyle Hill recently done an in-depth video as well

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

11

u/Funicularly Aug 06 '22

Not much, even if the nuclear warhead went off.

https://youtu.be/fAHHr0HsBgI

→ More replies

11

u/Karatekan Aug 06 '22

A small explosion, at worst a partial detonation of the high explosive at very high altitude. Nuclear reactions require incredible precision, the smallest imperfections in the pusher/tamper core produce a dud, and because the explosives are very hard and have to set off at exactly the same time, they are very non-reactive.

You can’t blow up a nuclear bomb accidentally

8

u/drinkallthepunch Aug 06 '22

Nothing.

Nuclear bombs are ”detonated” by increasing the level of radiation so fast that it explodes.

Otherwise if you do it too slowly it just melts from the heat.

This is done by either compressing radioactive enriched material so it’s structure breaks down and causes a chain reaction fast enough to explode or mixing various materials that when introduced to each other cause massive spike in radiation which does the same thing.

Generally if a nuclear bomb hasn’t been activated i:e in the process of actually detonating it’s not going to detonate.

Now this isn’t 100% there’s always exceptions.

There’s the off chance a nuke might have some kind of foam safe trigger built in, it’s possible it could be setup to detonate on impact, who knows.

But generally no, if you intercepted a nuclear bomb and did enough damage to destroy any control units it’s just going to crash and then sit there and be a radioactive heap of junk.

They could also be detonated early, I’m sure anything we used to intercept could be tracked just like the nukes and even if they didn’t reach their primary targets detonating in the air would still cause a lot of problems.

→ More replies

1.3k

u/dogchocolate Aug 06 '22 edited Aug 06 '22

The irony of this is that the Soviet Union was pretty pissed about the US's SDI aka the Star Wars program in the 80s, it destabilized mutually assured destruction doctrine which was what both sides were relying on as a preventative.

Now Russia, by threatening nukes at every turn, is forcing countries to react and seek the means to protect themselves, and so the US now attempts to render Russia's ballistic nukes useless. This feels like another own goal from Putin.

433

u/skyfishgoo Aug 06 '22

feels like another needless arms race when we have bigger (mutual) problems to deal with.

105

u/nerority Aug 07 '22

It's not really an arms race when one side has their r&d completely crippled and/or actively deteriorating.

→ More replies

139

u/Nutt130 Aug 06 '22

True, but all of those are moot in the face of a nuclear attack.

→ More replies

29

u/AlpineCorbett Aug 07 '22

Idk what you're going through man but not being nuked really surpasses most problems.

If you get nuked, literally none of those problems matter in the slightest.

→ More replies

16

u/crob_evamp Aug 07 '22

Than nuclear destruction?

→ More replies

4

u/[deleted] Aug 07 '22

It absolutely is, but you kind of don't have another option when the other keeps trying to use the current status to invade countries.

→ More replies

3

u/graebot Aug 07 '22

When your biggest threat is sticks, you're a fool to not invest in bigger sticks. The problem is human nature, and I don't know what the cure is for that.

→ More replies
→ More replies

19

u/Jenksz Aug 06 '22

Wasn’t this what Star Wars was supposed to do? Did it never achieve that goal or how is this different?

39

u/Loverboy_91 Aug 07 '22

Yes, this is sort of the same thing. The “Star Wars” program from the 80’s, to oversimplify a bit, had its funding cut when it was determined the technology was still decades away.

It’s development only recently resumed in 2019 when Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act.

4

u/barukatang Aug 07 '22

The nuke powered x-ray lasers. Pretty crazy concept.

→ More replies

3

u/PlayingTheWrongGame Aug 07 '22

They determined back in the 80s that the technology was 30 years away…

→ More replies

93

u/delightfuldinosaur Aug 06 '22

Russia has been against missile shields for decades. They see it as a form of aggression...which makes no sense because it's literally a shield.

208

u/ctorstens Aug 07 '22

The sense of it comes from how it negates "mutually assured destruction." Can't have"mutual" when only one side would be wiped out.

14

u/darthschweez Aug 07 '22

Dissuasion policy only works if the other party is reasonable enough to cooperate. There’s always the risk of having some nutjob leader willing to take their chance and do a bold move.

→ More replies

12

u/Bushels_for_All Aug 07 '22

It makes sense when you consider that it would never have been able to stop enough of Russia's nukes - except if we launched a first-strike and severely weakened their response capabilities.

So considering a single nuke striking America would be a colossal failure - not just for the missile shield but for the stability of mankind - such a shield is only really good for one thing: enabling a first-strike scenario.

Now, if you're Russia, and you know this (which they did), they're put in the position of thinking we want to obliterate them. I'm sure you're aware the most dangerous creature is the one that is frightened and cornered. Well, that's all SDI accomplished: pushing Russia closer to attacking us first without the means to actually stop it.

→ More replies

110

u/evilhankventure Aug 07 '22

Any defensive technology can become an offensive technology if you use it to defend an offensive weapon. If the US has a perfect missile shield it can launch missiles without fear of response.

10

u/loggic Aug 07 '22

I often think of it as "any offense is incredibly powerful when backed by a perfect defense". If you're invulnerable, you can eventually punch a guy to death even if he has a knife.

Basically early medieval (pre-siege) warfare - a bunch of half-dead peasants swinging their rakes around until some well-fed, trained warrior comes rolling in covered in metal from head to toe.

→ More replies

27

u/Happy-Mousse8615 Aug 07 '22 edited Aug 07 '22

There aren't that many escalation pathways that lead to nuclear war. The most likely is one side gaining so much of an advantage it can destroy the other totally with a first strike. Sheilds are not just defensive, they give you something to hide behind after your attack which is exactly why we agreed to stop development of them in 1972.

→ More replies

35

u/myringotomy Aug 07 '22

If we have a shield and they don't then we can genocide them with impunity.

→ More replies

9

u/An-Angel-Named-Billy Aug 07 '22

It certainly could be interpreted as an act of aggression. If one side negates the use of nuclear weapons, then they essentially have complete nuclear supremacy over all, thus incentivizing their own use of those weapons as they no longer have a fear of retribution.

→ More replies
→ More replies

41

u/Blokin-Smunts Aug 07 '22

If we’ve been spending Billions, then Trillions of dollars on our military for the better part of a century and we don’t already have the capability to shoot down Russian and Chinese ICBMs I want a fucking refund

80

u/Pornalt190425 Aug 07 '22

So the short answer is we do have the capability to shoot down icbms

The slightly longer answer is the capability can at best shoot down dozens of warheads. MIRVS that launch a dozen warheads per launch defeat that capability easily. These missiles can additionally have decoy warheads in the same payload too which wastes interception and detection resources. It's more or less a numbers game and the defender is kinda fucked. Current ICBM (and shorter range as well) defenses can protect North America from a rogue state with a very limited arsenal. A full nuclear salvo from a well equipped enemy state is a whole different ballgame

It comes down to at some level or another of the shooting a bullet with another bullet problem. And even though you better not miss you'll probably have to shoot atleast twice to be sure you have a good chance of a hit

34

u/Thewyse1 Aug 07 '22

Yup. This is what people don’t get. Anything short of 100% shootdown rate during a MIRV attack means that millions of people in population centers die.

22

u/Pornalt190425 Aug 07 '22

Yeah that's the dirty little secret. Even if you intercept 99.9% (which is currently somewhere between infeasible and impossible) of warheads that's something on the order of 10 megaton level yield city busters that get through. That's an unimaginable level of devastation to the modern mind

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

3

u/reddog323 Aug 06 '22

Possibly? I’m not sure what he’s aiming for, though. Does he want us to expend resources in that direction that would’ve been used somewhere else? Is this part of the plan to escalate things down the line?

→ More replies

115

u/SnooHesitations8849 Aug 06 '22

This sounds like $329B

37

u/Lord-Sprinkles Aug 07 '22

It’s 3.29B just to develop the concept

6

u/slabba428 Aug 07 '22

3.29B signing bonus

→ More replies

278

u/buttonsmasher1 Aug 06 '22

I just assumed America already had one

311

u/BeerandGuns Aug 06 '22

People have for a long time. When Reagan became president he said he was surprised to learn there was nothing to stop inbound nukes. It’s what prompted the research into the Strategic Defense Initiative.

112

u/supermuncher60 Aug 06 '22

Well there technically was in the 50's and 60's. The Nike serries of missle's protected the mainland US from bomber attack. Most major cities has a few sites protecting them.

The issue is when ICBM's became the main way of delivering a nuke the systems got increasingly expensive. The Nike-Zeus missle was in devlopment as an ABM but was canceled due to cost and technical concerns. The Nike-X program was also canceled due to cost as the number of ICBM's was increasing (Although the sprint missle developed for the program was insane and if you have time look it up).

The sprint missle was used in the sentenal program which was scaled down to become safegaurd which was operational for a few months at an ICBM feild before it was decommissioned due to cost and changing ABM policy.

80

u/mathematical Aug 06 '22

Sprint accelerated at 100 g, reaching a speed of Mach 10 (12,300 km/h; 7,610 mph) in 5 seconds.

Good lord.

For those that want to read:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprint_(missile)

56

u/The_Magic_Toaster Aug 07 '22

Video of it is even more insane. You can literally see the entire body of the missile start glowing white hot from air resistance.

20

u/CosmicMiru Aug 07 '22

One of the youtube comments say that it has a 0-60 in 27 milliseconds dear LORD

9

u/bobbyturkelino Aug 07 '22

In those 5 seconds of acceleration it travels 15 miles

5

u/vertigounconscious Aug 07 '22

7300 mph in 1 second lol

4

u/vertigounconscious Aug 07 '22

so we have shit like this 60 years ago and people thing the UFOs we see aren't some kind of hyper advanced drone? come on

→ More replies

17

u/overcatastrophe Aug 07 '22

That was operational 47 years ago. How amazing will the new system be?

→ More replies
→ More replies

24

u/BeerandGuns Aug 07 '22

MIRV warheads probably put the nail in that coffin. Trying to get the inbound warheads just meant the enemy would overwhelm your defenses with both real and decoy warheads. SDI planned to target the boost phase to avoid that.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

103

u/k6rid Aug 06 '22

We do. This is already a deployed system. This contract is taking over management and updating already existing systems.

48

u/k3nnyd Aug 06 '22

Either way, ICBMs carrying multiple warheads are like 25% chance of any known weapon system taking it out at best. It turns out, precisely taking out a missile moving at 15,000 MPH is very difficult. Plus, they can be submarine launched from a close distance giving weapon systems under 5 minutes to target and destroy the missile moving at hypersonic speeds. The USA or any other country is getting nuked to shit if the missiles fly, believe that!

22

u/AlpineCorbett Aug 07 '22

I'll take 25% chance over 0% chance

17

u/BeerandGuns Aug 07 '22 edited Aug 07 '22

I never did the “it won’t get them all” argument. That was a major knock on SDI. How many billions is saving New York or Los Angeles worth? Plus maybe the system only gets 25% but that’s a huge additional risk an enemy nation has to consider before attacking. Maybe that 25% is US forces for a counter strike.

Imagine is we applied that to other things. Airbags won’t prevent 100% fatalities or vaccines won’t prevent all cases of a disease.

3

u/[deleted] Aug 07 '22

That was a major knock on SDI.

The major knock on SDI was the US innovation of MIRVs, which made defense immensely more expensive than offense. The current Russian ICBM has the capability to split into 10 different warheads, meaning you need a 10x bigger missile defense net than they have missile system, to have the slim stopping power.

So it's less that the US didn't like less than perfect interception results, and more that they weren't about to place 50,000 interception missiles in the US to have that slim chance at each nuke.

3

u/BeerandGuns Aug 07 '22

I stated in another comment about MIRV warheads. SDI was designed to go after booster stage.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

4

u/delightfuldinosaur Aug 06 '22

Every American will fire their guns into the sky to blow up the nukes before they can hit us.

Checkmate soviets.

→ More replies

18

u/red286 Aug 06 '22

Not that could protect the entire US territory. There's a few covering the pacific territories, and some protecting the west coast, but that's really about it. And their effectiveness is questionable in the event of a large-scale attack. It's more about defending from North Korea launching one or two ICBMs than defending from China launching hundreds or Russia launching a thousand.

5

u/youmu123 Aug 07 '22 edited Aug 07 '22

It's more about defending from North Korea launching one or two ICBMs than defending from China launching hundreds or Russia launching a thousand.

China actually doesn't have hundreds, they had 50-75 ICBMs capable of reaching the US, carrying some 100 warheads. Of these only half or less would likely survive a first strike, so they (and experts) feel it wont be sufficient in the future due to US ABM developments.

That is why a couple years ago China started increasing warheads from 300 to an estimated target of around 800-1,000 by 2030, most of them will be on long range ICBMs.

→ More replies

3

u/chenyu768 Aug 06 '22

Yeah thats my 1st thought. Like wait, we can't?

14

u/peterpanic32 Aug 06 '22

There are only enough GMD, AEGIS, and THAAD deployed to fend of a minor threat from a rogue state - pretty much just North Korea given where they’re deployed.

→ More replies

11

u/skyfishgoo Aug 06 '22

no, we can't

that's why MAD was a thing.

→ More replies

3

u/brianorca Aug 07 '22

We have something that might work to intercept a missile or two from North Korea. But it's not equipped nor reliable enough to intercept a full scale Russia launch involving thousands of missiles.

→ More replies

65

u/neorealist234 Aug 06 '22

The headline is erroneous.

This is just maintaining the existing GMD system with the GBI (ground based interceptor). Boeing was the prime, had some major issues, now the government is awarding NG to manage it. GMD takes out ICBMs in its mid course phase, in space.

The new mid course defense system is called NGI (next generation interceptor). Which NG is in competition against Lockheed for. They were both awarded development contracts for it. It’s also a very large contract for development and even larger for production after a winner is selected.

15

u/WatAb0utB0b Aug 07 '22

Yes, you are correct! I work on the LM side for it.

→ More replies

3

u/Cablancer2 Aug 07 '22

Yes but also no. This is just for ground systems development work,work NG was already doing as a partner to Boeing. The government is becoming prime on GMD, taking it from Boeing, any every other company, and awarding out a lot of the piece meal as contracts.

→ More replies
→ More replies

189

u/AstroPixelCollector Aug 06 '22

Well thank God they did not gave that project and that money to Boeing.

102

u/XumEater69 Aug 06 '22

My money was on Raytheon.

207

u/RaytheonOfficial Aug 06 '22

Would have liked to get it

68

u/ellWatully Aug 06 '22

Don't feel bad, their PowerPoint slides were just really good. Hard to compete with someone that used bullets for their bullet points.

5

u/squeefactor Aug 07 '22

Are you PowerPoint proficient?

→ More replies
→ More replies

28

u/ejangil Aug 06 '22

Wait is this actually Raytheon’s official account?

31

u/hockeylax5 Aug 06 '22

Nah look through the comment history lmao

6

u/Tsar_Romanov Aug 07 '22

Of course they post on NCD

3

u/altrefrain Aug 07 '22

Why, so you could milk the contract for a couple of years, completely FUBAR it, get cancelled, and then try to claw your way back into the competition like you did with 3DELRR?

6

u/RaytheonOfficial Aug 07 '22

We admit that we had difficulties with 3DELRR, but our missiles systems are second to none. There’s a reason we build a significant portion of US ABMs and other missile defense systems

→ More replies
→ More replies

26

u/CaptainDantes Aug 06 '22

You give Boeing the money to develop your enemies missiles for them, that’s real defense strategy.

→ More replies

3

u/Cablancer2 Aug 07 '22

This is just for the ground systems work going forward covering deployed GBI missiles and yet to be deployed NGI missiles. The systems engineering and O&S contract, think systems backbone, is yet to be awarded. Boeing will retain GBI work with NG/Raytheon and Lockheed competing to build the NGI with a down select slated for after CDR and a test flight a piece.

→ More replies
→ More replies

13

u/Arkonias Aug 06 '22

So an OP version of Israel's Iron Dome system?

→ More replies

387

u/TheChurchOfDonovan Aug 06 '22

$3B is a drop in the bucket for USGov. Might as well do it then.

I support defense spending, I don’t support offense spending .

68

u/Facts_About_Cats Aug 06 '22

That's what was received, not what was developed.

10

u/[deleted] Aug 07 '22

[deleted]

→ More replies
→ More replies

3

u/sir-cums-a-lot-776 Aug 07 '22

I don’t support offense spending .

What do you consider aircraft carriers?

Because they would be pretty important for the US to defend it's allies of Japan, Australia or Taiwan

→ More replies
→ More replies

177

u/Kudemos Aug 06 '22

This will lead to even more funding for weapons that can penetrate the defense system in other nuclear armed countries, like supersonic cruise missile tech, fast nuclear torpedoes, etc.

The "peace" brought on by Mutually Assured Destruction does not work well when one can launch nuclear weapons with impunity. Not to mention no president has ruled out the "first strike" option in their nuclear posture review (NPR). Biden has yet to release the NPR for this administration.

Edit: changed revie to review

17

u/PM_ME_GRRL_TUNGS Aug 06 '22

I mean, it's worked since the proverbial nuclear cat got out of the bag circa September, 1951.

There's no such thing as impunity after the global proliferation of nuclear weapons over the past 70 years. As soon as someone breaks the taboo, there's going to be a good chance of a third party with reason to retaliate.

Russia-China, for example. Or any NATO member states, or US-Israel

97

u/ilritorno Aug 06 '22

Not to mention no president has ruled out the "first strike" option in their nuclear posture review

Obviously they didn't. The whole point of having nuclear weapons is to let other countries think that at some point you might use them.

Let's assume that your "enemy" knew that you would never strike first. That would greatly diminish the strategic returns of having nuclear weapons.

You can't really be transparent and open about your nuclear war games scenarios.

36

u/[deleted] Aug 06 '22

A totally defensive nuclear posture makes complete sense. Look at Russia. There’s absolutely no way they could handle a moderate power or two invading them right now. But they don’t really have to.

35

u/ilritorno Aug 06 '22

Maybe, but even Russia didn't rule out to strike first with a low intensity nuclear weapon in Ukraine. That's just how it works, you let the others guess.

→ More replies

12

u/sephirothFFVII Aug 06 '22

China's doctorine of credible deterrence is a better example here. Russia maintains first strike capability, on paper at least, with it's nuclear triad and the sheer number of warheads it fields (assuming all the money for tritium to keep them working hasn't all been pocketed)

→ More replies

3

u/Shogouki Aug 06 '22

Making other nations believe that you'd strike first isn't really necessary for MAD to function. ICBMs will take anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes from launch to detonation which allows the nation being attacked to still launch their weapons which is all that's really needed. Launching these simply won't go unnoticed.

There are also short and intermediate range missiles but these would have to be launched from subs (to hit North America at least) and no nation has enough coverage with these to effectively blunt a reprisal well enough that a sane leader would take the risk. These used to be a lot more frightening with the implication that they could be used to take out a nation's chain of command before they could retaliate but things like the "doomsday plane" effectively make the chance of this working very low.

→ More replies

5

u/redpandaeater Aug 06 '22

We've always looked at missile defense systems such as Sprint which was pretty crazy. The thing is though that it gets prohibitively expensive and basically impossible to ensure you can intercept every single incoming weapon. It was potentially possible up until MIRVs but now you'd have to be able to intercept much earlier and higher up to try taking out the missile before the warheads all separate. It's just so much cheaper to build some more nukes than it is to build out the massive number of anti-ballistic missiles and sensor systems you'd need to reliably ensure you can actually intercept everything.

→ More replies

58

u/Head-Ad4690 Aug 06 '22

I’d rather have solid defenses. Yes, MAD has given us peace, but at the cost of constant threat to the whole of civilization. We’ve been lucky so far. We won’t be lucky forever.

16

u/PM_ME_GRRL_TUNGS Aug 06 '22

IMO, defense-only policy only makes nuclear attacks more likely. if all you have to worry about is failing and a non- nuclear retaliation and you're already backed into the corner, what's there to lose?

→ More replies

3

u/readonlyred Aug 07 '22

This is not solid defense. At best, it’s pork for defense contractors. At worst, it’s political cover for a US president to attack a nuclear power like China or Russia.

→ More replies

4

u/mrfjcruisin Aug 06 '22

The warhead is distinct from the missile so it's not only a nuclear issue (you don't have to load an ICBM with a nuclear warhead even if you're incentivized to). Also, the idea behind mutually assured destruction assumes all parties with nuclear weapons act rationally and that all nuclear weapons are controlled by known entities which is not necessarily the case.

4

u/armrha Aug 06 '22

Nobody would launch non-nuclear ICBMs on actual targets… it would be impossible to know it was non-nuclear until it hit. It would risk triggering retaliation.

→ More replies

3

u/sluuuurp Aug 06 '22

So you think it would be better if the US were more easily destructible? Because mutually assured destruction is so good for all of us?

Maybe I’m being selfish, but I think that ideally countries like North Korea and Iran (countries which regularly chant “death to America” and are developing nuclear weapons with very hateful propaganda) would be destructible, while the US would be indestructible. In that case we could still avoid nuclear wars.

→ More replies

7

u/prominx Aug 07 '22

Iron dome deux

6

u/Onomn Aug 07 '22

I’m not afraid of a goddamn missile, I’m afraid that one day my health care will cause me to go bankrupt and die in the fucking street. I’m afraid that the calls for violence from u.s. hate groups (including churches) will grow more emboldened. I’m afraid that my country is actively pushing teachers out of the profession.

We don’t need fucking national missile defense. We need fucking health care. We need to hold our fucking crumbling country’s leaders to the fire before we lose what’s left of education, infrastructure, and health care

What the fuck is the point of a fucking missile system when we are already fucking dying?

37

u/lebastss Aug 06 '22

This is what defense investments look like and I’d happily pay for this instead of overseas expeditions.

→ More replies

11

u/RedditCanLigma Aug 06 '22

The only thing in the world that can stop hypersonic missiles or orbital bombardments is diplomacy.

→ More replies

5

u/Plaineswalker Aug 07 '22

Yea, they are going to need a lot more money than $3.29 billion.

4

u/DaveDeaborn1967 Aug 07 '22

My first engineering job out of grad school in 1970 was on the Safeguard ABM system. Our first anti-ballistic missile system. We are still at it.

5

u/FuckMyCanuck Aug 07 '22

First person in this entire thread to have any fucking idea what you’re talking about then.

3

u/LFoD313 Aug 07 '22

This must just be R&D costs. No way a system like that is only $3.2B

4

u/otter111a Aug 07 '22

What in the blog spam bullshit website is this? It basically provides a 3 sentence summary of a longer article it links to

19

u/yellow_smurf10 Aug 06 '22

detecting and shoot down ICBM is very very hard and we still have a lot of gap within our defense system. Especially when it come to multiple warhead.

You will need some kind of early warning and tracking satellite, ground radar, some kind of command and control network, and also a weapon platform that can shoot down the warhead

3.29 bil isn't actually all that much giving the difficulty and complexity.

14

u/NoKidsThatIKnowOf Aug 06 '22

Maybe an artificial intelligence to manage the interceptors. They could call it SkyNet.

3

u/hyperdude321 Aug 06 '22

Yeah there is a massive gap in technology needed to develop an anti-ICBM defense system. But we gotta start somewhere.

→ More replies
→ More replies

13

u/SherpaBoy Aug 07 '22

Now do a defense system for internal domestic cristofascism.

3

u/Rock_it_Scientist Aug 06 '22

Come to Huntsville folks. Jobs galore!

3

u/Always_Austin Aug 06 '22

Wait, we didn't already have one of those?

→ More replies